Forget the rules, and covid will be back – and new freedoms lost


So far so good. Hairdressers are snipping away happily behind visors, and Independence Day drinkers, by and large, behaved themselves.

After three months without pubs, a few hangovers can be forgiven this morning.

Yesterday was our first taste of the new normal. And if we are to keep on top of this virus, we had better get used to it.

New freedoms, albeit limited ones, bring with them new responsibilities.

At last we can go out for a drink and a bite to eat, mingle with friends, pitch a tent or go to the cinema.

But as we get together, we must continue to stay apart. Forget the rules and Covid-19 will be back with a vengeance – and we will be back in lockdown.

Rishi Sunak is taking a gamble

Going out and about under these new conditions will not exactly ignite our economy, but at least it will get it smouldering again.

Jobs will still be lost, but we might just avoid the disaster of four million of them disappearing by Christmas.

Embracing the new normal with caution means Health Secretary Matt Hancock can take a back seat as Rishi Sunak takes the steering wheel. It will be the biggest test a Chancellor has ever faced and, in Mr Sunak, we have a painfully inexperienced one.

But, so far, he has made fewer mistakes than his boss Boris Johnson – although the furlough scheme he introduced should have been more flexible from the start.

On Wednesday, he will unveil a package designed to help Britain get back to work. But we will have to wait until his Autumn Budget for the big announcements.

We urge him to be bold. So much has already changed that so much more can. He can reform a tax regime that has benefited the wealthy for too long. He can make pensions fairer. And he can iron out the Universal Credit mess which caused such misery.

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Mr Sunak does not drink. So pubs will be no distraction.

As for the rest of us, let’s enjoy what sunshine this summer has left.

And go easy on the moonshine.





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